What Is Untouchability In Current Scenarios Sociology Essay

Untouchability today outlines the context in which untouchability is practiced in the current scenario. India emerges as the universe ‘s largest democracy and fastest turning economic system yet the pattern of untouchability remains in stark contrast to the image of advancement that the Indian authorities seeks to advance to the international community. The issue of untouchability is one of the most dissentious issues in the state ‘s history and a lived experience of all people in India, including the Dalits who figure over 164 million, and non-Dalit culprits and informants. Despite turning domestic and international concern, Constitutional prohibition, and a legal enforcement government every bit good as international human rights protections, the day-to-day life of many Dalits stills remain unchanged boulder clay day of the month.

Untouchability is an ancient signifier of favoritism based upon caste which is a complex and permeant job in India, although its pattern is non limited to India entirely. For millenary, the pattern of untouchability has marginalized, terrorized, and relegated a sector of Indian society to a life marked by force, humiliation, and indignity. The favoritism is so permeant that many Dalits come to believe that they are responsible for their ain agony and exclusion. Therefore believing it to be at that place faith and in bend perpetuate the pattern of untouchability. Like a black secret, a “ concealed apartheid, ” untouchability remains an highly sensitive issue in India. Its pattern is ne’er to the full defined, ne’er to the full explored and, therefore, ne’er to the full understood. Thus this research paper is an effort to understand the jobs and issues underscoring the pattern of untouchability in the Indian context

What is untouchability?

Untouchability is a direct merchandise of the caste system.A It is non simply the inability to touch a human being of a certain caste or sub-caste. It is an attitude on the portion of a whole group of people that relates to a deeper psychological procedure of idea and belief, unseeable to the bare oculus, translated into assorted physical Acts of the Apostless and behaviors, norms and patterns. [ 1 ]

Untouchability is the merchandise of casteism and the belief in pureness of so called upper castes. It is by and large taken for granted that Dalits are considered contaminated people at the lowest terminal of the caste order. All the humble undertakings were to done by the low caste, like taking human waste ( known as “ manual scavenging ” ) , dragging off and clambering carnal carcases, tanning leather, doing and repairing places. They are supposed to shack outside the small town so that their physical presence does non foul the “ existent ” small town. They are restricted in footings of infinite and their houses were to be of inferior quality and devoid of any installations like H2O and electricity.

Identifying Conditionss and Practices Associated with Untouchability

1 ) Water for imbibing,

2 ) Food and drink,

3 ) Religion,

4 ) Touch,

5 ) Entree to public installations and establishments,

6 ) Caste-based businesss,

7 ) Prohibitions and societal countenances

8 ) Private sector favoritism.

Untouchability is present in about every domain of life and practiced in an infinite figure of forms.A At the small town degree Dalits are barred from utilizing Wellss used by non-Dalits, forbidden from traveling to the Barber store and come ining temples, while at the degree of occupation enlisting and employment Dalits are consistently paid less, ordered to make the most humble work, and seldom promoted.A Even at school, Dalit kids may be asked to clean lavatories and to eat individually. [ 2 ]

As an instrument of casteism, Untouchability besides serves to transfuse caste position to Dalit kids from the minute they are born. For e.g. some of the names given to Dalit male childs in Gujarat are Kachro ( crud ) , Melo ( dirty ) , Dhudiyo ( dusty ) , Gandy ( mad ) , Ghelo ( stupid ) , Punjo ( waste ) .This is deliberatelyA done so that a kid becomes witting of his caste or sub-caste identity.A The individual treated as untouchable submits himself or herself to untouchability patterns because of a generational belief that it is right, justified, spiritual and natural. Untouchability in this sense is straight related to the caste system, and the lone manner to acquire rid of it is to acquire rid of the caste system itself.A

Who are Dalits?

The word “ Dalit ” comes from the Sanskrit root dal- and means “ broken, ground-down, downtrodden, or oppressed. “ A Those antecedently known as Untouchables, Depressed Classes, and Harijans are today progressively following the term “ Dalit ” as a name for themselves.A “ Dalit ” refers to one ‘s caste instead than category ; it applies to members of those humble castes which have born the stigma of “ untouchability ” because of the utmost dross and pollution connected with their traditional occupations.A Dalits are ‘outcastes ‘ falling outside the traditional quadruple caste system dwelling of the familial Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Shudra categories ; they are considered impure and polluting and are hence physically and socially excluded and isolated from the remainder of society.

Dalits represent a community of 170 million in India, representing 17 % of the population.A One out of every six Indians is Dalit, yet due to their caste individuality Dalits on a regular basis face favoritism and force which prevent them from basking the basic human rights and self-respect promised to all citizens of India.A Caste-based societal organisation extends beyond India, happening corollaries in Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, every bit good as other states outside of South Asia.A More than 260 million people worldwide suffer from this “ concealed apartheid ” of segregation, exclusion, and favoritism.

Commissariats for the precaution of Dalits:

Article 17of the Indian fundamental law declares untouchability is abolished and its pattern in any signifier is out. The enforcement of any disablement originating out of untouchability shall be an offense punishable in conformity with jurisprudence.

The Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 punishes the sermon and pattern of Untouchability.

Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes ( Prevention of Atrocities ) Act 1989 criminalizes certain Acts of the Apostless against members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes such as traffic in human existences, A ‘begar ( free labour ) ‘A and forced labour in any signifier.

Problem of Untouchability in India

When the fundamental law of India outlawed untouchability in 1950 many national leaders believed that a centuries old pattern had been brought to an terminal. But now about 60 old ages subsequently there is no entire success of the statutory step. Millions of Dalits across the state who account for approximately 1/5th of the population continue to endure birth-based favoritism and humiliation. In provinces like Tamil Nadu which boasts a long history of reformer motions is no exclusion. In fact untouchability has non merely survived the constitutional prohibition but taken new embodiments in many parts of the province. Caste-based favoritism has frequently led to force, go forthing 100s of the deprived people in distress peculiarly in the 1990s.

The Segregation of Dalits is seen about everyplace in Tamil Nadu ‘s small towns. But nil can possibly crush the high wall 500 metres long that has been built at Uthapuram in Madurai territory as a barrier between Dalits and caste Hindus.

While untouchability is still rampant and is taking new signifiers peculiarly in small towns, the constitutional prohibition and irresistible impulses of modernness and development have to some extent blunted its asperity. Rail conveyance has been uniting forces in society. Yet the Railways have been among the worst wrongdoers in regard of the jurisprudence against manual scavenging.Dalits constitute a important part of its work force of manual scavengers along railroad lines.

Although all province authoritiess claim that they have abolished manual scavenging studies reveal that this pattern is really much alive in many topographic points. Mailmans have besides been found to pattern untouchability.A survey conducted in Tamil Nadu noted that in two small towns in Madurai territory mailmans did non present postal articles to Dalit addressees.Dalits were required to roll up the articles at the station office. There are besides route conveyance related misdemeanors of the jurisprudence against untouchability.Among them is the unwritten regulation that gives caste Hindus precedence over Dalits in get oning coachs in many countries, buses non halting in Dalit countries, conveyance employees picking wrangles with Dalit riders without aggravation and Dalits non being allowed to utilize coach shelters. State authorities still follows a traditional process of doing proclamations in small towns by crushing a membranophone and for that they deploy Dalits.

Worse still are the functions of schools and instructors in perpetuating untouchability and seeding the seeds of caste-related favoritism in immature heads. The Dalit kids are frequently discouraged by instructors and fellow pupils belonging to caste Hindu societal groups. In many schools Dalit students were non allowed to portion H2O with caste Hindus. To penalize an erring or blue Dalit male child instructors scold him by naming him by his caste name. If the instructor decides that the male child needed a whipping as penalty the undertaking was assigned to another Dalit male child. There is besides systematic refusal of admittance to Dalits in certain schools peculiarly at the plus two degrees.

In some small towns during the temple festivals Dalits are supposed to remain hidden from caste Hindus. The two-tumbler system under which Dalits and non-Dalits are served tea in different vass is still prevalent in some teahouses. In some restaurants they are compelled to sit on the floor.

Caste and Untouchability

The caste system has been chiefly criticized for its intervention of outcastes or Harijans. This group has been termed theA panchamaA ( the fifthvarna ) , jointly denominating all who fall outside the regular four categories.

The impression of untouchability may hold been present in the originalA varnaA system, though it is non clear exactly how it operated. Puranic texts reference Harijans, saying that they should be well-supported, but intimate connexion with them avoided. They besides province that those who fell from their position within the higher “ twice-born ” Varnas were calledA dvija-bandhuA ( friends of the twice-born ) and were accommodated within theA shudraclass. In existent pattern, some who abandoned cardinal rites or moral criterions were wholly ostracised. Additionally, occupations deemed to be peculiarly polluting were held merely by outcastes. These include sweepers, leather workers, and crematory attenders. They were non allowed to populate within the confines of regular small town life, nor to portion public installations such as Wellss and temples.

Organised resistance to stiff caste patterns began with the medievalA bhaktiA motions. Some of them rejected both caste and its precursor, A varnashrama-dharma. Others considered the originalA varnashrama-dharmaA to be the echt system, though it normally took 2nd topographic point to a revitalised religious equalitarianism. Some contemporaryA bhaktiA traditions continue to originate non-casteA brahmanasfrom amongst communities usually considered untouchable. This broad pattern has met resistance, peculiarly from caste-consciousbrahmanas.

Gandhi called the outcastes Harijans – the kids of God – and wanted to suit them within the fourthA Varna. Ranji Ambedkar, another of import reformist, was a member of the untouchable caste who succeeded in achieving a scholarship to analyze jurisprudence. He subsequently disagreed with Gandhi over the future position of Harijans, and advocated alternatively a egalitarian society. He was one of the chief designers of the new Indian fundamental law of 1950, which outlawed untouchability and gave equal position to all citizens. In pattern many stiff caste values continue, and former outcastes have organized themselves as Dalits ( the oppressed ) , contending for societal and economic equality. The battle continues today, and though “ positive favoritism ” is procuring the outcastes equal chances, some claim that it is now displacing those who are really more qualified.

Caste consciousness still continues, and is much debated amongst Hindu bookmans and militants. Some advocate the extenuation of societal unfairness through the complete abolishment of societal divisions. Others attempt to redefine the ancientA varnashrama-dharmaA in a manner that is relevant to post-modern society.

Caste related force in India

Phoolan DeviA ( 1963A -A 2001 ) was an IndianA dacoitA ( brigand ) , who subsequently turned politician. Born in a lower-casteA MallaahA household, she was mistreated and abandoned by her hubby. She was subsequently kidnapped by a pack of dakoits. The upper-casteA ThakurA leader of the pack tried toA rapeA her, but she was protected by the deputy leader Vikram, who belonged to her caste. Later, an upper-caste Thakur friend of Vikram killed him, abducted Phoolan, and locked her up in the Behmai small town. Phoolan was raped in the small town by Thakur work forces, until she managed to get away after three weeks.Phoolan Devi so formed a pack of Mallahs, which carried out a series of violent robberies in north and cardinal India, chiefly aiming upper-caste people. Some say that Phoolan Devi targeted merely the upper-caste people and shared the booty with the lower-caste people, but the Indian governments insist this is a myth [ 2 ] . Seventeen months after her flight from Behmai, Phoolan returned to the small town, to take her retaliation. On February 14, 1981, her pack massacred 22 Thakur work forces in the small town, merely two of which were involved in her snatch or colza. Phoolan Devi subsequently surrendered and served eleven old ages in prison, after which she became a politician. During her election run, she was criticized by the adult females widowed in the Behmai slaughter. Kshatriya Swabhimaan Andolan Samanvay Committee ( KSASC ) , aA KshatriyaA organisation, held a statewide run to protest against her. She was elected a Member of Parliament twice.

On July 25, 2001, Phoolan Devi was shot dead by unknown bravos. Subsequently, a adult male called Sher Singh Rana confessed to the slaying, stating he was revenging the deceases of 22A KshatriyasA at Behmai. Although the constabulary were disbelieving of his claims, he was arrested. Rana escaped fromA Tihar JailA in 2004. In 2006, KSASC decided to honour Rana for “ continuing the self-respect of the Thakur community ” and “ drying the cryings of the widows of Behmai. “ [ 3 ]

Andhra Pradesh

This province is considered to be one of the least caste-crime infested topographic points of India which has non had many Dalit Slaughters


Ranvir SenaA is anA caste-supremacist periphery paramilitary group based inA Bihar. The group is based amongst the forward-caste landlord, and carries out actions against the outlawedA naxalsA in rural countries. It has committed violent Acts of the Apostless againstA DalitsA and other members of theA scheduled casteA community in an attempt to scurry reform motions aimed at their emancipation.

Tamil Nadu

The province ofA Tamil NaduA has witnessed several caste-based incidents both against Dalits and Brahmins.In 2000, three immature work forces belonging to theA DalitA under caste were killed in the CuddaloreA territory of Tamil Nadu.This fuelled some localised force in the caste-sensitive part, which has seen legion caste-related incidents in which the bulk of the victims have beenA Dalits. Six of the violent deaths have been registered as slayings under theA Indian Penal CodeA and others as “ Deaths under leery fortunes. No apprehensions have been made in these instances

However, several Dalits have been arrested asA goondasA ( goons ) . The Chief curate of Tamil-Nadu, M. Karunanidhi, has been accused of holding an “ anti-Dalit ” prejudice by the extremist organisation “ Dalit Panthers of India ” . Theories refering these offenses against Dalits scope from “ intoxicant moonshiners opposing prohibition motions among Dalits ” to “ inter-caste dealingss between a Vanniya male child and a Dalit miss ” . Political parties sympathetic to the Dalits have protested against these incidents [ 4 ] A and have allegedA systemic biasesA against Dalits in several parts of the state.

Bant Singh instance of Punjab

On the eventide of January 5, 2006 Bant Singh, a poorA SikhA Dalit, was attacked by unknown attackers. His hurts necessitated medical amputation. He alleges that this was in revenge for actively working to procure justness for his girl, who was pack raped by upper caste members of his small town in Punjab five old ages earlier. [ 5 ]

A 55-year-old Dalit Sikh adult female, Sawinder Kaur has been tortured, stripped and tied to a tree in Ram Duali small town of Punjab because her nephew eloped with a miss from the same community. The constabulary arrested four individuals for allegedly perpetrating the offense on 9 September 2007. [ 7 ]

In January, 1999 four members of the small town panchayet of Bhungar Khera small town in Abohar paraded a disabled Dalit adult female naked through the small town. No action was taken by the constabulary, despite local Dalit protests. It was merely on July 20 that the four pancha yat members were arrested, after the State Home Department was compelled to order an enquiry into the incident. [ 8 ]

A Dalit Sikh adult female, Sukhwinder Kaur of Sumel Kheri small town was molested and beaten up by an octroi contractor of Malaudh when she resisted his effort to sexually work her. [ 9 ]

Kherlanji slaughter

On September 29, 2006, four members of the Bhotmange household belonging to theA DalitA lower class were slaughtered in Kherlanji, a little small town inA Bhandara districtA ofA Maharashtra. The adult females of the household, Surekha and Priyanka, were paraded naked in public, so allegedly gang-raped before being murderedA [ 1 ] . Although ab initio ascribed by the media and by the Human Rights Watch to upper castes, the condemnable act was really carried out byA Kunbi [ 10 ] A caste ( classified asA Other Backward Classes [ 11 ] A by Government of India ) husbandmans for holding opposed the requisition of the Dalit land to hold a route built over it.

On November 23, 2006, several members of theA DalitA community in the nearby territory of Chandrapur staged a protest sing this incident.The dissenters allegedly turned violent and pelted rocks. The constabulary had to fall back to baton bear downing to command the state of affairs. Dalit leaders, nevertheless, denied that they had sparked the force and that they were “ protesting in peace ” .

2006 Dalit protests in Maharashtra

In November-December 2006, theA desecrationA of aA AmbedkarA statue inA KanpurA ( Uttar Pradesh ) triggered off violentA protestsA by Dalits in Maharashtra. Several people remarked that the protests were fueled by theA Kherlanji Massacre [ 12 ] . During the violent protests, the Dalit protestors set three trains on fire, damaged over 100 coachs and clashed with constabularies [ 13 ] . At least four deceases and many more hurts were reported.

Subsequently, the Kanpur Police arrested a Dalit young person Arun Kumar Balmiki for profaning the Ambedkar statue. Harmonizing to the constabulary, the young person had “ admitted to holding damaged the statue in a bibulous province along with two friends ” [ 14 ] . Earlier in a similar instance, a Dalit young person was held for profaning an Ambedkar statue inA Gulbarga, A Karnataka [ 15 ] .

In response to these protests, A Raj ThackerayA drew attending to another incident in Kherlanji, in which a Dalit allegedly raped a miss and killed her. Thackeray demanded action on those responsible for the colza and the subsequent decease of the miss, and besides remarked that cipher helped the miss ‘s household [ 16 ] .


In the Indian state ofA Rajasthan, between the old ages 1999 and 2002, offenses againstA DalitsA norm at about 5024 a twelvemonth, with 46 violent deaths and 138 instances of colza. [ 17 ]


On 25 May 2009, force and rioting broke out when 1000s of dissenters took to the streets in about all major towns and metropoliss in the Indian province ofA PunjabA after a dalit sermonizer, A Sant Ramanand, was attacked in a temple inA Vienna, A Austria. He was among 16 people injured, including another sermonizer Sant Nirajnan Dass, and subsequently died in infirmary. Both the sermonizers were from a low-caste Sikh religious order which has a big followers in parts of Punjab and had travelled to Vienna to carry on a particular service. Several high-caste Sikh groups had seemingly opposed his presence and threatened force. This happened after the sermonizer had reportedly made comments about the Sikh groups.



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